At least once a quarter, I pop open this wine to introduce our students to the Cotes du Rhone region of France. Vintage after vintage, this has been a go-to bottle. I don’t even think about it anymore, I simply just buy it without thinking.
And for someone whose job is to taste wine, that is pretty remarkable.
This is a great example of how a wine can be different every vintage but still retain it’s personality and finesses. It is always heavy in the Syrah department at about 50% every vintage, with Grenache and a bit of Mourvedre rounding out the blend.
Typically, our reviews are for a single vintage, but I am confident in recommending all vintages current, past, and future of the Guigal Cotes du Rhone Rouge. Here are a collection of my reviews from earlier in my career.
Reviews of Guigal Cotes du Rhone
2014 Vintage. The density of the early vintage is layered into the flavors of the more recent. Flavors of porcini, black pepper, lavender, and olive are firmly balanced with the velvet structure of the wine. This is very much a confluence of the 2011 and 2014 vintages.
2013 Vintage Some of the deep and dense structure of previous vintages is missing, but their is a new lean power behind the fruit, still dense but pushing more to the red than blue this year. The change in fruit brings out more complex garrigue and forest floor aromas. There is a touch of tapenade in the finish. A bit less rough and a whole lot more intellectual.
2012 Vintage A highwater mark for this bottling. It’s smoke, floral, roasted notes all converge into a killer experience. Dark smokey chocolate, a pastille of wild flowers, flint and white pepper in the finish. This bottle truly kicks ass.
2011 Vintage This puts forward more liquorice and smoke then previous bottles, but keeps it’s chewy and rich structure intact. It is reaching towards higher kirsch-like extraction and a whiff of espresso.
2010 Vintage Beef carpaccio on the nose, with tobacco and lavender. Great texture with upfront flavors of creme de cassis, sweet blueberries, and bacon smoke. Muscular for the price.